Who Is Amberly Lee Barnett? New Details About The 11-Year-Old Alabama Girl Found Dead After Disappearing From Her Aunt's House

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Who Is Amberly Lee Barnett? New Details About The 11-Year-Old Alabama Girl Found Dead After Disappearing From Her Aunt's House
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Her suspected killer is behind bars.

An 11-year-old Alabama girl was found dead just a day after she disappeared from her aunt's house. Amberly Lee Barnett's body was found in an undisclosed location early Saturday morning, police and her family say. 

“At approximately 6:30 a.m. this morning, the deceased body of 11-year-old Amberly Alexis Barnett was located,” DeKalb County Sheriff Nick Welden said Saturday in a news conference. “Due to the current investigation, we are limited on the information that we are able to release. I can tell you we are diligently, diligently pursuing different avenues and Lord willing we will have answers in the upcoming days. Please keep the family in your thoughts and prayers as we move forward during this tragic event."

Police say the girl's suspected killer is in custody and are withholding further information to prevent compromising the ongoing investigation.

So who is Amberly Lee Barnett and what happened to her? Here's what we know so far.

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1. Amberly went missing Friday evening.

Amberly had been at her aunt's home when she vanished around 6 p.m., according to police. She was last seen in the Mt. Vernon community wearing a blue hoodie with yellow stripes, blue jeans, and white Converse.

Her mother Jonie Barnett wrote on Facebook that Amberly was not the type to get into trouble, adding that she would never have run off without telling anyone.

"She is so scared of anyone being mad at her or getting in trouble," she wrote. "She would not have ran away or make plans to go off somewhere.”

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2. An unknown SUV was seen in the driveway.

According to Amberly's mother, an unidentified, green SUV was seen leaving the driveway of her aunt's house Saturday evening. No vehicle has been connected to the case.

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3. She left her cellphone behind.

Amberly's cellphone was found at her aunt's house, which her mother found concerning because she takes her phone with her wherever she goes.

"Her phone was left behind and my baby takes it everywhere. Nothing in her phone indicated she was planning to leave!" her mother posted on Facebook.

“Anyone who knows Amberly, knows she would not have left without telling me or my sister. She’s too scared to get into any trouble. She would never leave her cell phone behind,” the mother wrote in another post. “She will fight if anyone try to do anything to her. She Is the type that gets mad and leave. She will not quit fighting to get back home.”

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4. Her body was found in a wooded area. 

Welden said that police received a call regarding Amberly's disappearance at 7:30 p.m. Friday and responded quickly. Authorities began gathering information immediately and started a search for Amberly that lasted well into the night, Welden said.

The search came to an end when authorities located the girl's body at 6:30 a.m. Saturday in a wooded area just 200 yards from the home of her suspected killer, Walden said in a Monday news conference.

“My heart is shattered this day in DeKalb County, Ala.,” he said in a Saturday news conference following the discovery of Amberly's body. “We will go forward and, God willing, we will have those answers.”

"My heart is still shattered," Welden added Monday.

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5. A man was arrested and charged with her murder.

Christopher Wayne Madison, 33, was arrested and charged with the murder of 11-year-old Amberly, the DeKalb County Sheriff's Office announced Monday. He was booked Saturday night on possession of a controlled substance and drug paraphernalia; the murder charge was added on Monday, according to jail records. Madison is being held without bond. No further information was released as to not compromise the investigation.

"The road to justice for this sweet, innocent little girl is too important to release anything to jeopardize this investigation," Welden said in a press release.

DeKalb county Sheriff's Office


6. She died of strangulation. 

A preliminary autopsy revealed that Amberly's cause of death was strangulation, according to Welden.

"Nobody should bury their 11-year-old child. Nobody should have hurt her," Amberly's mother told WSBTV. "I couldn't have asked for a better daughter."


7. A GoFundMe page was started. 

A fund was started to raise money for Amberly's family. As of Monday, over $7,000 had been donated.

"CHS Class of 2009 is raising money in memory of our classmate’s daughter," the GoFundMe page reads. "All donations will go directly to the family of this sweet girl. Any and all donations would be greatly appreciated."

If you have any information about the incident, you are urged to contact the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office at 256-845-3801.

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Sarah Gangraw writes about all things news, entertainment and crime. You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter.

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